Last week Tesco sent me a food delivery, nothing out of the ordinary – we have groceries delivered on a regular basis but not everyone is lucky enough to be able to have the assurance of regular food. This time it was different, Tesco (who have being working with food bank charity The Trussell Trust and food redistribution charity FareShare) sent me a food parcel to highlight what a food parcel (for 5 days of breakfast, lunch and dinner) from a food bank might look like here in the U.K. Due to not only a broken website and severe internet down time I was unable to tell you about the special food collection scheme called #EveryCanHelps that Tesco were running last week, however Tesco always have food donation boxes in store and The Trussell Trust welcome donations year round. I find donating an item or two to the box at the end of the checkout works best for me but you can find your nearest food bank here and if you don’t have one local to you find out how you can start one. If you’d prefer to donate in the form of money there are numerous ways you can donate to The Trussell Trust here and to FareShare here – £10 a month provides 40 meals!
WHAT IS IN A FOOD PARCEL FROM A FOOD BANK?
All of the products below are Tesco products but the average food parcel would be made up of donated products from various shops, members of the public and companies.
Tesco Mixed Vegetables (300g) 40p
Hartleys orange Jelly (135g) x3 £1.77 ( – 0.77 for special offer)
Tesco Scottish Porridge Oats (500g) 65p
La Doria Ratatouille Provencale (390g) 60p
Tesco Chicken in white wine sauce (400g) £1.49
Tesco loose bananas x5 49p
Tesco red kidney beans (400g) 55p
Tesco UHT skimmed milk (1L) 49p
Tesco everyday value long grain rice (1kg) 40p
Tesco free range eggs (6) £1
Tesco everyday value tomato soup (400g) 25p
Tesco everyday value vegetable soup (400g) 25p
Tesco cous cous (500g) 70p
Tesco everyday value chopped tomatoes (400g) 34p
Tesco everyday value rich tea (300g) 23p
Tesco everyday value broken mandarins in light syrup 35p
Tesco everyday value sausage casserole (390g) 77p
Tesco everyday value spaghetti bolognese (410g) 20p
Tesco everyday value chicken soup (400g) 25p
Tesco Marghartine soup pasta (250g) 50p
Tesco everyday value broken grapefruit in syrup (540g) 35p
Tesco everyday value teabags 40 (100g) 20p
Cost of products pre-promotions: £12.23
Promotional savings : -0.77
Total if bought in store: £11.46
I was surprised by the amount of tinned food but it is totally understandable that fresh items are not only more expensive but harder to store, to distribute and possibly not suitable for people who have limited means of cooking once at home. It was nice see to bananas, eggs and useful multi-purpose staples like oats, cous cous and rice which are useful for filling you up and giving you sustained energy. Here at Thrifty Towers we are so used to having basics like flour, a bulb of garlic, spices, salt, butter and even oxo cubes on hand so it hard to imagine living life without having the basic staples stocked in the cupboard. We are incredibly fortunate.
I’ve heard a lot of people over the past couple years saying food parcels aren’t great because it doesn’t feature spices or store cupboard items which teach people to cook and whilst I see their point in the long term, reaching out to a food bank is a time of emergency and these well thought out parcels provide nutritional, non-perishable food.
I have just spent a week eating this food and will share what combinations and ideas I came up with early next week. I can’t say it was easy going but I was very appreciative of every bite having read real life stores from food bank users . Mr Thrifty and I have been in situations where, in the past, we’ve really struggled to pay our rent but things alined and we struck it lucky and thankfully have always been able to go to bed with a full stomach. We are, however only too aware that one small hiccup in finances and we could be in a similar situation to so many in this country.
FOOD POVERTY IN THE U.K.
The need to use a food bank varies greatly but can be caused by redundancy, an unexpected bill, zero hours contacts, rise in food prices, rent hikes and many other factors. In 2013/2014 there were 13 million people living below the poverty line right here in the United Kingdom and 913,138 people (330,205 children) were fed by food banks. Food poverty is a very real thing. Donating just one can of food makes a very real difference.
Children in this country are leaving their homes of a morning and going to school hungry. Parents aren’t eating for days in order to give their children food.
Please consider donating items to a food bank if you can spare the cash. As you can see from the list above, individually some of the prices of products are small so if you just added one bag of rice to your shopping or even just a tin of fruit, to pop into the box as you’re leaving the store, you could be making a huge difference to the many people who need to turn to a food bank to help them out.
EDIT: I just wanted to add incase anyone thinks I just waltzed off with a load of food, I will be donating this exact basket of food back to my local food bank along with my usual monthly donations. I don’t normally like to discuss what I give to charity but in this case because I was effectively taking what could be given to someone in need I wanted to make sure it was clear. Thanks!